The 2010 Rover 3500
Anyone thinking that the Design Team at Longbridge lacked an understanding of Rover’s rich history should be reassured – and saddened – by these images. Reassured because this imposing looking saloon oozed Rover from its every pore and, had it made production in a form resembling these images, it would have advanced the marque’s prospects globally. As for being saddened, well, it’s not hard to visualise these cars coming to market about now, backed by Chinese investment and ambition, underpinned by British skill.
These are images of Lee Mitchell’s proposal for his facelifted Rover 75 – as can be seen, Lee wanted to reinstate some of Rover’s cast iron solidity that were an integral part of the Rover P5’s DNA but, ironically, he’s been influenced by the car that clearly took its styling cues from the ministerial Rover. ‘There were three chosen scale models,’ he said. ‘One was more of a tradionally styled replacement in the vein of then then current 75; another was a lot more Japanese looking, looking rather like a Lexus; and then there was mine.
‘I was influenced at that stage by the Chrysler 300C and that American idea of a hot gangster-style sedan. However, the P6 was also very much in my mind as an influence on a modern Rover saloon. I felt the new vehicle should be sporty, unique and tough looking, something that would banish any lingering olde worlde image that Rover had at that time. I did not personally feel that another retro styled vehicle was the way forward.’
Obviously, these cars had no chance of reaching production without a joint venture partner, hence the desperate need to tie-up with Shanghai Automotive. Lee makes it clear that they only made it as far as the clay model stage and, going from the nomenclature on the registration plates, there probably wasn’t even an engine package in place. However, one does wonder what might have been with the Anglo-Chinese tie-up, because looking at the speed SAIC has developed Roewe and MG from a near standing start, and with much UK input, it’s easy to imagine how the team might have faired from a running start.
More intriguing are these images, which detail another of Lee’s 75 replacement proposals. There’s a mix of influences here, from the P5 (in the grille), through the Mercedes-Benz CLS (in the overall four-door coupe concept) to the 2006 75 facelift (in the headlamp treatment of the final proposal, below). They all have their good points, and it’s clear that there’s genuine potential for a Rover revival had these cars been built…
…or even maybe revived via the Rover marque’s current owner, Tata-controlled Jaguar-Land Rover. It’s good to dream.
However, these are just dream images. Lee stated: ‘here are some sketches of some alternative 75 replacements that I proposed that were different in theme and style to the black ones (top). There is also an image of a flagship coupe that was talked about but never even got into scale models!’
Thanks to Lee Mitchell